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Joining familiar faces in Lions secondary brings Justin Coleman back to his roots

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Cornerback Justin Coleman talks to the media during a news conference Thursday at the Detroit Lions training facility in Allen Park.

Allen Park — Forget about the talk Detroit is now New England West. The more appropriate description might be Brunswick North. 

Brunswick is a southern Georgia town on the Atlantic Coast, approximately 40 miles north of Florida. The population is below 20,000 and Brunswick High School has an enrollment under 2,000.

Yet, somehow, bucking reasonable probability, the Detroit Lions now have three players from that high school on the roster. Not only that, the three are projected to make up three-quarters of the team's starting secondary. 

On Thursday, the Lions introduced the third member of the trifecta, cornerback Justin Coleman. He joins fellow Brunswick natives Darius Slay and Tracy Walker. 

And despite rumors the three might all be related, spurred by a Slay tweet, Coleman confirmed he doesn't share direct ties to the other two, who are actually second cousins.

"Man, the city where we from, everybody’s cousins," Coleman said. "We’re not blood-related but we’re definitely close, we grew up together."

Coleman overlapped with Slay a couple of years in high school, and said he was a constant source of motivation. 

"I kind of looked up to him as a young kid to get to where he was going, because I knew he was gonna do something big with his life, and step by step he led the way and we just grew up real close together, and it kind of allowed us to compete and get to this point."

If things work out, the trio could play together for some time. Slay, the former All-Pro, is under contract for two more years and a foundational piece for the Lions, Walker is entering his second season of his four-year rookie contract, and Coleman just scored a four-year, $36 million deal in free agency. 

Primarily a nickel corner the past two years in Seattle, Coleman played both inside and outside during his two seasons with the Patriots, when he played in a defense run by current Lions coach Matt Patricia. 

"Pretty much how I feel like I plan to be used here, matchup cornerback and play a lot of special teams, as much as possible, and just be used to help the team win," he said.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers